• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast the ways in which Maya Angelou and John Agard respond to others' ideas of their cultures and oppression.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare and contrast the ways in which Maya Angelou and John Agard respond to others' ideas of their cultures and oppression. Maya Angelou and John Agard's poems are both responses to someone or some people who have wronged them. John Agard sounds as though he is correcting a stranger on their use of the term "Half-Caste" and telling them exactly what he thinks is implied by these words and Maya Angelou seems to be addressing her demons and people like her abuser after she has become successful. Both works are concerned with prejudice. 'Still I Rise' is structured in couplets and has a very clear climax stanza. 'Half-Caste' doesn't flow like 'Still I Rise', rather is dishes out it's words in one big main course with a brief starter, tempting you to read on and discover what he means by "Standing on one leg, I'm Half-Caste", and a just desserts at the end for the unintentional offender. Both poets led very different lives, right from the outset. John Agard was born on a Caribbean island called Guyana, he was born to two loving parents. His father was black and his mother was white. ...read more.

Middle

"I half-caste human being cast half a shadow" This short phrase stood out for me because it is, like many other parts of the poem, sarcastic, and therefore humorous. He responds to abuse not with anger, but with a mixture of frustration, pity and amusement. Also it shows that the abuser may see Agard's heritage as a shadow; a burden he cannot escape. Angelou's poem contains just as many clever metaphors and euphemisms. "I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise" The "black" refers to her African heritage. "Ocean" represents how big and influential the black community has been to the human race. 'Still I Rise' is couplets all the way through with a clear pattern in the layout of the stanzas. One ends with "Still I'll rise" or something similar, and the next one starts with a rhetorical question, for example "Did you want to see me broken?". The poem ends with a climax of metaphor, repetition of "I Rise" and many references to slavery and poverty. 'Half-Caste' climaxes also, asking the person who questioned Agard's heritage to treat him as he would treat a normal person rather than a half human abomination. ...read more.

Conclusion

"England weather nearly always half-caste in fact some o dem cloud half cast till dem overcast so spiteful dem don't want de sun pass" This part of the poem is different from the rest of the piece. It does not seem immediately angry, and it is not sarcastic. The only tone I can imagine this part being read in is a sad one. 'Half-Caste' holds a sarcastic tone in most of it, as other emotions such as frustration and sadness leak through. It builds up well to a great climax, where the message is made clear. 'Still I Rise' has a patronising tone throughout, and appears to be talking to Maya's abuser and racist people on the whole. Both poets are forgiving and understanding. I enjoyed Agard's poem more than Angelou's. I felt his view was more original and the use of humour in his piece kept me interested. Maya's couplets were entertaining enough, and the message of her poem is just as relevant as 'Half-Caste' but I felt it was lacking an interesting structure. Though I can't choose between the two endings, both included repetition and were creative. The Morals of both poems are anti-racism and display messages of hope and pride. Although I can relate to neither, I found them both to be memorable reads. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Miscellaneous essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast the ways in which war is presented in 'The Charge Of ...

    4 star(s)

    bombardment that these men were under from all sides and makes the reader feel that the men were very brave and heroic. This is reinforced by the use of the word, 'volley' which shows that the canons were constantly firing on both sides of the men.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast the presentation of childhood memories in half past two, piano and ...

    4 star(s)

    reminder to him and us all that although they were bullying him he wanted to forgive them and get along, but the fact that they never said sorry, is what he is being reminded of. The memory is of a sad event and the language of the poem is the language of regret throughout.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss the Ways in Which the Poets Convey the Loss of Human Dignity in ...

    4 star(s)

    He sits in his 'ghastly suit of grey' waiting for something 'in the dark'. If the poet changed this line to 'there was a man sitting in a grey suit in the dark' it would definitely not have the strong effect it has on the readers.

  2. Compare and contrast Keat's 'To Autumn' and Vernon Scannell's 'Autumn'

    Scannell also does this because his poem has 8 Stanzas, they all have 3 lines per Stanza except for the last one which has 4 Lines. It also has a full rhyme scheme for this stanza unlike the other stanzas in the rest of the poem.

  1. Normandy Landing creative piece

    This was life in war. BOOM! The rock next to me got blown as that guy launched a rocket missile at me. A sudden burst of energy shot into me. I knew what this was.... Adrenaline. The body pumps most of the blood to the needed parts for maximum agility, vision and hearing.

  2. Caged Bird - Maya Angelou anthropology

    to emphasize the point that the caged bird is more important and has more to "sing" about. Earlier on I talked about the phrase describing the free bird, well the caged bird has a lot more said about him such as, "his wings are clipped" a birds unique feature are

  1. Childhood and adulthood: a real opposition.

    In opposition, the parents are a lot more rational and prevent their child from getting close to the other children who bullied him: 'My parents kept me from children who were rough'.

  2. Poetry Exam Questions on "Conscientious Objector", "Our Sharpeville", "Cousin Kate", "Half-Caste", "August 6, 1945" ...

    Taking the life of another is a malevolent act, and doing so is an example of cowardice and fear. The final stanza of the poem is a quatrain, differing from the other stanzas of the poem.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work